Showing posts from December 30, 2012

Thunder by the Bay

"Thunder by the Bay" is an annual event in SRQ when 300-400 bikers have a rally on our bay side and on our Main Street.  See

It's not my kind of thing,

Indeed the event made me a wee bit angry when, in 2012,  I drove up after Church  to a neat bay-side restaurant (Marina Jack's),  there to have lunch with my pals Ben and Bob before we went on to Sarasota's  Van Wezel Performance Center for an afternoon Concert.

Neither Ben, Bob nor I had remembered about "Thunder by the Bay":  and that (1) parking would be at a premium, and (2) The 3/4 mile journey from Marina Jack's to the Van Wezel would take about half an hour.

 We "made it" just in time, and the concert  was great.

I avoided downtown SRQ today in order to ignore the "Thunder by the Bay" mayhem.

But my "occasional pal"  Tony D'Amato  was there this year. He is wise enough to own a Triumph rather than a Harley.

Here are some of Tony&…

Today - good stuff!

1.When I was walking with Penne early this morning ( Jan 4th 2013) she became very agitated, and was straining at her leash.  Then she frenetically followed a “smell trail” from which I had to drag her.

Within a few moments the reason for her behaviour became clear when a gorgeous red fox went trotting by.

2.On that walk a gentle wind was blowing through some leafy trees.  That created a beautiful rustling sound which I was glad to enjoy. Music in nature!

3.I called my Doctor’s office this afternoon ( Friday 4th Jan) to schedule a simple check up, in preparation for my trip to Vietnam.

I was offered an appointment on Monday 7th Jan at 11:15 a.m. Wonders never cease!

She is a wonderful primary care physician (G.P.) -  She is Dr. Kristen Paulus

Necessary plans

I have never done this before, and it may seem silly BUT

I have registered with the U.S. State Department’s “Safe Travel” programme for my upcoming trip to Vietnam,    Jan 26th –Feb 10th.

Therefore: In any emergency the State Department will contact my youngest brother Martyn in the U.K. (and I will provide Martyn with a list of my USA contacts).

It seems prudent to do this.

For when I travelled to Ecuador I was linked with my friends Chris and Trish Morck who (then) lived in Quito.

And when I visited Australia I had contact with my former Cambridge colleague Dr. Andrew McGowan who lives and works in Melbourne.

But I do not know a soul in Vietnam.

So: if I break a limb, or get sick, or shuck off this mortal coil when I am in Vietnam   - there will be a way to notify Martyn – and a way for him to contact my American friends.

Thank goodness for the U.S. State Dept, (and get well soon Secretary of State Hillary Clinton).

A younger, redder,thinner jmp - vintage 1982.

My nephew Nick posted this photo' on Facebook.  It was taken at a Restaurant on Fishponds Road, Bristol. -  Nick  remembers that it was called "The Soup Tureen".

Here's the background.

 I flew home on Christmas Day 1981, arriving at London Heathrow on Boxing Day.  I drove down to Bristol and to Maureen's home.  I needed a nap, but my sleep was disturbed when my two of my nephews (David and Robert?) came bounding up the stairs to greet their Uncle John.

We had  an early afternoon family meal at Maureen's home on December 26th 1981.

When I returned to the USA and had my films developed (remember that?), there was a snap of me -  sound asleep at the dinner table. I had no idea that it had been taken.


The photo' above  was taken at a family gathering at the Soup Tureen the evening before I was due to return  to Boston.

Believe it or not I have kept all my old calendars/ diaries. So I know…

Jack and Donna Chrisman/ Muriel Quinn. Chúc mừng năm mới

Chúc mừng năm mới  (Vietnamese for Happy New Year).

My good friends Jack and Donna Chrisman, together with “the lassie from Lancashire” Muriel Quinn came to my home for lunch today.

Muriel hails from Oldham, Lancs.  Jan 1st is her birthday, so we had a celebration of the New Year, and of a birthday.

We had such a lovely time. We were so relaxed.

 And ‘cos there were but four of us we were able to listen to each other, talk to each other, and listen to each other.

I served “Hoppin’ John”. It’s a dish cooked with crispy bacon and the bacon fat , cooked with black-eyed peas, sauteed yellow onion, green pepper, celery, and seasoned with thyme, garlic, a bay leaf, and some Cajun seasoning.

Hoppin’ John is usually served over long grain rice, with a “side” of collard greens.  That’s what I did today.,

It’s “traditional” in the southern USA States (of the former Confederacy) to eat black-eyed peas with collard, turnip or kale greens on New Year’s Day.

The lore is that the end of the Civil w…

A dream//2012 -2013/ Hoppin' John

1.I was wakened at about 3:30 a.m. today (Dec 31st 2012) by the sound of a moped just outside my bedroom.  I thought “what the heck”.

As I emerged into consciousness I realised that there was no moped.  What I had heard (and what had awakened me) was the sound of one of my long and drawn out snores. Pity my roommates when I go to Vietnam.

2.The internet is not perfect.  I know this because I’ve had problems when trying to log on to my e-mail account at  My user name and password works well on my desktop, but they are always rejected on my tablet.

This afternoon I trundled off to the local Comcast office to try to resolve the problem.  That office was mobbed. Folks all around me were grumbling on account of the long waits. I decided to be patient on the grounds of “fake it until you make it”.  That “faking it” worked well: so I was in a good frame of mood when my number was called after a one hour wait.

My clerk was Phyllis. She listened to my story, and then told me that…

Our big sister - Mum, Maureen, or Auntie Morning.

For as long as I can remember I’ve had a big sister.  That’s because she is seven years older than I.  By the time I began to form memories I was 5 years old, and she was 12.

When I was five I started school at Greenbank Infants School in Bristol, U.K.  I cried a lot on that first day.

The family legend is that I cried until the first “playtime” (recess) in the school playground (school yard) that morning.

The legend goes on to say that I re-entered the classroom and announced “I am not going to cry anymore because I saw my sister”.

That sister was my big sister Maureen.  Her “big girls” school started a week later, so she was able to lurk near my school-yard for that first mid-morning “playtime”.

I think that I remember that morning, but it’s more than likely that I remember what was told to me later.

However I recall that story is un-important.

What is important is that I have a fabulous “big sister”.

Her Christian names are Maureen Joy.

It is alleged that she was named Maureen beca…